Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news

‘OLA to move away from diesel vehicles’: P Chidambaram informs Delhi High Court

Smrithi Suresh

In a bid to keep its Delhi operations alive, OLA cabs informed the Delhi High Court that it had begun to ‘take steps’ towards moving away from diesel vehicles.

The submissions came in the background of a contempt petition initiated by the Association of Radio Taxis against OLA CEO Bhavish Aggarwal for continuing to ply the cabs in Delhi and flagrantly violating court orders of July 29. 

Senior Counsel P Chidambaram appearing for ANI Technologies (that owns the brand name OLA), submitted before  Justice Manmohan that they had filed an affidavit today in compliance with the High Court order.

He stated that ‘necessary technology’ to comply with the Court’s orders had been installed in all the vehicles but a time period of two weeks was required to regularly monitor the said technology to ensure that it was operating without any ‘bugs or glitches.’ He further said,

“Two weeks from now, a diesel cab even with an All India Tourist Permit, will not be put on the OLA platform, for running point-to-point services.”

While the Bench was willing to accommodate the request of two weeks, Justice Manmohan told Chidamabaram that he would need another affidavit from them to ‘show that they are complying with the orders of the Court’, in line with Paragraph 29 of the July 29 order.

This paragraph had directed the Company to file an ‘affidavit explicitly stating that it would abide by the judgments and orders passed by the Court.’ Chidambaram agreed to file the second affidavit before the Court.

Earlier, the counsel appearing for Association of Radio Taxis had argued that the cab company’s technology was so advanced that they could have shut down their operations in Delhi, immediately upon the Single Bench and Division Bench orders that upheld the Delhi Govt’s ban.

Their failure in doing so was akin to ‘disrespecting the majesty of the Court’, argued the counsel. He further submitted that ‘clearly, commercial considerations overrode court orders.’

To this Justice Manmohan commented,

“I agree there has been a breach (of Court orders) but now they are willing to comply. We can tell them to do some charity. I’ll tell Mr. Chidambaram to plant some trees. However, he can pay the Delhi Govt and they can invite all lawyers  to plant a sapling each!”

Responding to this Chidambaram replied,

“Your Lordship, planting trees is a good thing. I can do that, even while am complying with the orders.”

Aside from the repartee that punctuated the hearing, the Bench said that it would keep the contempt petition open so as to monitor compliance. The matter will now be heard on October 5.